Making an Ancient Sling for Modern Fun




Introduction: Making an Ancient Sling for Modern Fun

How to make a ball tossing sling.

Play fetch with your dog without tiring yourself out.

While looking for videos on slinging a few months ago, I came across one that showed someone tossing tennis balls for a dog. I can't find that particular one again, but it made enough of an impression on me I thought I should share it with you. Although I'm relatively new to the hobby of slinging, I think I know enough to make this fun instructable on how to make slings. I will also include a few tips on throwing, some history of slinging and give you links for further research.

Using tennis balls is a safe way to learn slinging as a sport.

Even if you don't have a dog, you can still have some fun and learn a new skill out of this Instructable.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools List


Leather (you can also use canvas, denim or other cloth, though they may not be as durable as leather)

Paracord about 6' long

Paper for pattern design

Pet grade tennis balls for ammunition


Measuring device/straight edge

Scrap Board for cutting (if necessary) and as a straight edge

Kitchen/Utility Scissors

Leatherman or utility knife for any cutting required

Lighter (or matches for flame)

Hole Punch

Pen (not shown)

Step 2: Making the Pattern

The pattern is simple, and can be modified to your liking, either lengthening or widening, or even shape, but you may want to stick with this design for your first sling.

The dimensions of the pouch pattern are 8 inches by 2 1/2 inches

Mark the center of both edges (4 inches on the long side, and 1 1/4 inches on the wide side).

The center wedge will be 2 inches from the edge.

Follow the pattern design, or download the PDF of the pattern I made and print it.

The locations of the holes are not important as long as you have enough surrounding leather to keep it from breaking Cut the pattern out.

Position the pattern on the material you're going to use, placing it in a location for most efficient use.

Step 3: Select Location for Pouch on Material and Transfer the Pattern and Cut Out the Pouch

Position the pattern on the material you're going to use, placing it in a location for most efficient use.

Transfer the pattern on the leather using a pen, marker or pencil. In this one I've let the shape of the leather dictate my final layout, utilizing a hole along one edge where I don't have to cut, and the missing notches on the ends.

Cutting the leather, you can use a knife and straight edge, or a pair of utility scissors as I did on this version. Save the notches from the center. They will have a later use.

Step 4: Punching the Holes in the Pouch

Align the ends of the sling pouch, and use the hole punch to make your hole, (you can use an awl, a nail or any appropriate tool you can find to create the hole).

Using this type of punch, if the tool face is not square to the brass anvil, you may not cut all the way through without twisting the leather around or punching it out a second time.

You can make each hole individually if you have difficulty punching through two layers.

Once you have the holes completed, you can also punch holes in the wedge pieces for use as a toggle on the cord.

Step 5: Cut the Rope in Two and Melt the Ends

Next step to cut the paracord in two pieces, and melt both ends of each piece.

Try to keep the bead of melted nylon from being large.

You can do this by wetting your fingers with some spittle, and twisting the cord to a point, or you can use a piece of leather or paper to keep you from burning your fingers on the melted plastic.

Step 6: Tie the Cord to the Pouch Ends

Loop the cord through both layers of the pouch, beginning on the side toward the pouch, and loop it back through.

Tie an overhand knot close to the end of the rope, then do a double reverse loop back on itself which will then lock the cord in place, keeping the it from slipping and becoming untied.

Pull the cord tight against the knot.

Tie both ends of the pouch in a similar fashion.

Step 7: Determining the Length

Determine a good length for the sling. I go with 20 to 24 inches for my arm length.

Leave the rope uncut until you've tested it a few times.

You can cut it when you've decided it's the right length for your throw.

If it's too long or too short, re-tie the cord to your preference.

Choosing one end, make a simple loop knot, secure enough to stay in your finger without falling off, but not too tight to impede removal, or restrict circulation.

Pinch off the second end near where both ends keep the pouch even, and tie either an overhand, or a figure 8 knot in the cord.

You can either add the notch toggles you've prepared at this point, or after you've decided on the length. They are really only for decoration and not functionally necessary. The choice is yours.

Step 8: Testing Out the Sling

Next step would be testing the sling, (and embarrassing yourself if you've never thrown a sling before).

I'm showing you a simple overhand throw, also known as the Greek style. There are many ways to throw, and I've included the link to a couple videos, and to a slinging community forum page.

sling fetch with my new dog (How to have fun with your sling.)

Lost Science of the Bible documentary english part 2 (This is the David and Goliath test)

Slinging Target Practice - Six Techniques (This guy is pretty good, and the styles are shown from different angles)

Slinging Styles (with Dog)

Where I found the design for the sling pouch

Step 9: Storing Your Sling

To store the sling for quick use, tie a series of slip knots into the cord, leaving the last end loose.

This way you can carry your sling in your pocket without it getting tangled.

Step 10: Warning:

Use a large field if you're throwing for the first time, and for throwing balls for your dog.

You can easily throw a ball 70 yards, and can even reach further distance with improved skill.

Do not throw items other than balls until you've become more adept at accurate throwing.

See for more information. This site contains forums which discuss different slinging styles, history, advice and more.

The sling weapon has almost been forgotten, with the bow and arrow, and javelin taking prominence in history. It was probably the first projectile weapon after throwing stones, is very easy to manufacture, and is made from materials which are simple to procure.

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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I have been debating on building or buying a recurve bow and field points for use in my backyard, I used to shoot a bow in my 4H days as a teen. Which is a closed fenced off place with 10 feet high fencing. Seeing this makes me wonder if this might get me up and outside more often. Tennis balls and a sling may not be seen as weapons in your car. A bow and arrows could be deemed as weapons during a traffic stop.


    Reply 3 years ago

    if you do make one, post a picture. Thanks.


    3 years ago

    What a great project! I remember when I made my first and only sling when I was in the Boy Scouts. Thanks for sharing!


    Reply 3 years ago

    I hope this encourages you to make another one, whether it be this design, or one of your own. Thank you for the pleasant comment on my first Instructable.


    3 years ago

    I think this might have been the video I first found that the guy was throwing a tennis ball for his dogs.

    Primitive Rock Sling.JPG